The popular Eleven Eleven Roundabout is for the third time being pulled down and reworked between 2007 and 2012.
The same treatment was extended this year to the Marian Road /Mary Slessor Avenue on which the epitaph of the famous twin -saving Scottish missionary, Mary Slessor seats on.
The Mary Slessor round about apart from having some of its pillars covered with tiles and the platform on which the image on which the missionary stands on, there is no much value and aesthetic addition.
The Eleven Eleven Roundabout which was built by the Mr. Donald Duke administration and had on its sides features which resemble Egyptian burials vaults, (mummies) was reworked in 2009 to remove those images which church leaders and most residents complained gave the impression that the state worships idols and replaced with a water fountain.
It was adored and loved by the people for its aesthetics but in November this year, it was pulled apart again and reworked without much change to the previous one.
This perhaps, agrees with the opinion of some people who believe that reworking these two roundabouts is ostensibly not for value addition but for egoistic and somewhat hidden reasons.
Some residents who spoke to crossriverwatch in Calabar said that the projects have created opportunity for some people to make money.
“I have not seen anything new that was done in those two roundabouts that is significantly different from what was there. My heart was ape when they removed the image of Mary Slessor from its stand but thank God they have brought it back” Offiong, a Calabar landlord told our reporter.
Ita Esin, another respondent who was waiting for a taxi at the eleven eleven roundabout told our reporter that “this work they are doing every year has become an avenue to steal money without suspicion. They have to do one thing that will last for years and use the money for other things”.
Laura Abang, a graduate from Unical said “when you want to develop a tourism town you have great aesthetics that form part of the tourist sites and one of them is roundabouts within the metropolis. Government has to look for long lasting aesthetic designs that will survive centuries and build their own fame and mystique rather than these stop-gap expediencies that come crumbling every year.”
There were also a lot of emotional outburst by most people interviewed as some of them threatened that, had the image of Mary Slessor not been restored; there would have been street protests.
To them the image of the woman on the strategic roundabout reminds most people in the state of the evil that was perpetrated through the killing of twins; an act that the Scottish lady stopped in Old Calabar kingdom.
“I was beginning to wonder what image they would hoist on that roundabout until they returned the lady. I would have gone on a one man protest if they had brought something else”. Sister Jane, a nun at the nearby St Bernard Catholic Church said.
According to her, what Mary Slessor did for humanity in the Old Calabar kingdom surpasses most efforts by politicians therefore her image standing tall on that roundabout while bearing a set of twin in her hands shows the love and care she brought to the land.
“The Sisters residence, the St Bernard Catholic Church, Holy Child Secondary School are marks of missionary activity, therefore her standing on that strategic roundabout is worth it” Sister Jane added.
On the Eleven Eleven roundabout, residents observe that the money spent on reworking it ought to have been invested somewhere else.
‘They are several roads in Calabar South which are impassable. Government should have deployed that money there and not on pulling down and reworking Eleven Eleven Roundabout”. Ilade Ekpang said.
According to him, the old structure at the roundabout was okay with water coming out from its fountain which contrast with what was previously there. “Close to the roundabout is a lodge which is hardly opened. With the water fountain, visitors would be preoccupied looking at the water not at the old building which houses the lodge”.